Nobody wants their neighbors to go without health care, and socialized medicine promises health care for all, regardless of financial situation. Unfortunately, socialized medicine has many problems. Previously, I have written about health care in Europe. America’s neighbor to the north, Canada, also has problems with its health care system. Canada often has doctor shortages and waiting lists that cause wealthier patients to travel to the United States for care. The following are some examples of why Canada’s health care system is lacking.
Waiting Times for Treatment
Canadians wait an average of 18.3 weeks to receive the surgery that they need, according to the CBC News. For some treatments, the wait is considerably longer. Patients needing orthopedic surgery might have to wait more than 38 weeks, and patients needing neurosurgery might have to wait 27 weeks. Many cardiac arrests in Canada could be prevented by using an implantable defibrillator, but the wait time is so long, sometimes doctors don’t even bother to refer their patients to get one. Children routinely wait months to more than a year for “elective” surgeries like having their tonsils taken out, having tubes put in their ears to prevent ear infections, saving their sight by surgically realigning their eyes, or removing benign tumors from their faces.
PET Scans Not Covered for Cancer Patients
Ontario routinely doesn’t cover PET scans for cancer patients. PET scans are more accurate than CT scans, but it currently is available only in clinical trials. Some patients go to a private clinic and pay out of pocket. They can usually be seen within a week. The median wait time for a CT scan, which is covered, is nearly five weeks.
Doctor Shortage Results in Physician Turning Away Patient for Being Over 55
Dr. Derek Nesdoly was advertising for new patients, but when Edith Paulus, age 59, called to ask about being a patient, she was turned away because she was older than 55. There are not enough doctors in Canada to treat everyone that needs to be treated. Nearly 1.5 million Canadians cannot find a family physician. Canada needs about 15,000 more doctors, yet there aren’t even that many students in medical schools today.
Canadians Have a Higher Risk of Death After Heart Attack
In a study published in the medical journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, Canadians were discovered to have a higher rate of death after a heart attack than U.S. citizens. In the United States, patients have a death rate of 19.6% after suffering from a heart attack due to a completely blocked coronary artery; in Canada, the rate was 21.4%. Americans are more likely to receive more aggressive treatment like angioplasty or bypass surgery, while Canadians are usually just given medication.
Health care in the United States is not perfect. The cost is high, and some people fall through the cracks. The answer is not socialized medicine. In Canada, socialized medicine has led to doctor shortages, long wait times, and necessary care that is not covered.
“Cancer Patients Question Why PET Scan Not Covered.” CBC News, May 28, 2007. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/05/28/pet-scan-ontario.html?ref=rss#skip300x250
“Curing Canada’s Doctor Shortage.” National Post, January 15, 2008. http://www.nationalpost.com/life/story.html?id=222287
Derfel, Aaron. “Surgery Backlog Tops 5,500 at Kids’ Hospitals; One-Year Waits Common.” The Gazette (Montreal), December 4, 2004. http://www.liberty-page.com/issues/healthcare/canbacklog.html
“Ontario Physician Turns Away Patient for Being 55+.” CTV.ca News, March 17, 2006. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060317/doctor_age_060317/20060317?hub=CTVNewsAt11
“Patients Shouldn’t Wait More Than Eight Weeks for Cardiac Defibrillator.” Canadian Press, May 24, 2005. http://www.liberty-page.com/issues/healthcare/candefib.html
“Wait Times for Surgery, Medical Treatments at All-Time High: Report.” CBC News, October 15, 2007. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/10/15/fraser-report.html
Ubelacker, Sheryl. “Canadians Have Higher Death Risk Than Americans After Heart Attack: Study.” Canada.com, September 20, 2004. http://www.liberty-page.com/issues/healthcare/deathrisk.html